Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Should Christians Boycott?

This one may get me in trouble. But I have a concern. I fear that sometimes we as Christians respond to the world not with gospel motives and gospel intentions, but with political and financial weapons, desiring not to see the lost come to Christ, but to force them to say Christian words and support Christian causes and to refrain from offending us; not to make them Christ-lovers, but Christian-looking (i.e. hypocrites). We sometimes aim for morals and outward behavior rather than the heart. I am talking about boycotting.

From the start let me say that I am not arguing for never using a boycott - there may exist a time when it is prudent. But it seems to me to be increasingly popular. Very often I hear of Christian groups, ministries, churches, radio stations, etc calling for believers to boycott a certain business, brand or group because they support ungodly things, or refuse to say "Merry Christmas." Is this really what Christ has sent us to do?

Is our mission - our great commission from Christ - really to wield our unified buying power to cripple an organization that is acting like sinful unbelievers are supposed to act? They're still lost! Does Christ want us to force them to insincerely support Christian causes or celebrate the birth of Christ when they have not bowed the knee to Christ as Lord? Shouldn't we be going after their heart, not their words and actions? 

Christians will speak of Muslims converting with the sword. But do we conduct "financial jihad" on businesses that don't measure up to Scripture, wielding the sword of our boycott to bring the desired result?

If we continue to boycott sinners, where will it end? Where do we draw the line? Which supported causes are worthy of the boycott? Who will decide which sins a business may support, and which ones will draw our wrath? Will we shut them down for supporting gluttony? Or just gay rights...

Jesus told us to bless those who persecute us and to love our enemies. If a company began to support a group that actually persecuted Christians, what would it look like for us to return this persecution with a blessing? Is a boycott a blessing?

When you think about it, the very idea of a boycott is the exact opposite of the gospel. Did Christ boycott us when we were still in our sins? Weren't we supporting some pretty ungodly causes? For crying out loud, I was eaten up with sin, drinking it in like water! I am eternally grateful and humbled that Christ did not boycott me. He didn't go away from me; rather he came to me, to us - to sinners. Rather than a boycott, he walked right into my store. He didn't curse me for being a sinner, but he took my curse on himself. He suffered loss in order to bless the unrighteous. He took the place of sinners on the cross and redeemed us with his blood - in love. And then he sent us out to go to sinners in love with his gospel, laying our lives down if necessary, to see them come to him.

Here's a crazy idea. Wouldn't it be something if believers decided to go shop at the stores owned by the meanest, most ungodly sinners? To walk right in their stores and bless them with our money and create relationships with their staff and tell them about Christ and pray for them?

My point is this. The gospel should drive all of our life. Our desire should be to see God glorified in the saving of sinners.

There, I've spoken my peace.
Please don't boycott me.

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